Residence Card Renewal During Pandemic

I am a permanent resident of Japan and don’t need to renew my visa. But every 7 years I must renew my residence card. Even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, it’s time to renew, so this morning I went to the regional Immigration Bureau in Shinagawa to take care of it.

I think it’s weird, but they close for lunch between 12 and 1 pm, so I wanted to get there fairly early and get it done in the morning.

My station, Shinkoiwa, is a pretty good transportation hub, and they have an express train to Shinagawa. The regular cars were quite crowded. Everybody was wearing masks, but social distancing was impossible. So I used my Suica Card to spring for a Green Car seat where things were quiet and mostly empty.

Sitting in the Green Card on the way to Shinagawa – just 23 minutes away
The car was mostly empty – unlike the regular cars, which were stuffed with people that time of the day. Worth it considering what’s going on.
Shinagawa Station was pretty quiet.
The Immigration Bureau is quite far from the station. Instead of taking a bus I decided to take a taxi.
Arrival at the Immigration Bureau entrance.
Because of the pandemic, they were limiting how many people could enter at one time. Here we picked up a time/entrance paper.
I got a 10:15 am slot with the A group. This meant I needed to wait outside for a half hour before being able to go in. A member of the staff helped me find a “warm” place to stand in the sun and wait.
There was security and health screening to get in (and men and women were screened separately). But once inside, because of the crowd controls, it was surprisingly quiet. I went to the counter and filled out my form and went upstairs.
Counter D2 was for permanent residents renewing their residence card. I only needed to wait a few minutes to get served. They asked me to lower my mask to make sure I matched my photo.
Social distancing in the waiting area.
Waiting for my number to get called. It was only 45 minutes from the time I entered the building until I got my new card. Not bad!
I think I look younger and better in my new photo than I did 7 years ago. Can you tell which is is the newer one? OK, I’ll tell you. It’s the one on the left. The one on the right is me back in 2014.

And I was back home in time to take Pao for his afternoon walk!


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